“If we can just use our voices, all we want will be ours.’’ – Awesu Haminat Ololade.
Are you scared of the government? Have you ever wondered why millions of people are scared of a single man or woman who is our President or Prime Minister or Queen or King? Do humans derive pleasure from being controlled? Is our mind easily susceptible to slavery? Why is it that you can’t move a hand, even when you are displeased by the government? Have you ever thought about why that cowardly trait runs in our veins? I will try to provide answers and try to figure out why majority of us are crippled to our narrow-mindedness.
The problem we face in Nigeria has been narrowed down into three:
1) The lack of freedom of the press.
2) The ability of citizens to gradually grow comfortable to poverty and indiscipline.
3) The narrow-mindedness of Nigerian citizens
THE LACK OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
The freedom of the press has always been something every democratic country prides his or herself in having. Regrettably, it is only on paper in most of these countries.
In Nigeria for instance, press freedom has been nonexistent before the time of the late Dele Giwa, who was killed by a letter bomb in his Lagos home on October 19, 1986. The assassination occurred two days after he had been interviewed by the State Security Service officials. He had written about the newly introduced Second-Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM) and how it was a complete failure. This did not go well with the government. When he was rushed to the hospital, his last words to the medical director were reportedly, ‘’Tosin, they’ve got me.”
Let us move to the present days where there are fewer honest journalists because everyone fears for their lives. We have Mr. Omoyele Sowore, a Nigerian human rights activist and a Sahara Reporters publisher, who was arrested by the DSS because of an alleged call for revolution. His freedom of speech was trampled upon and yet again, the government proved to us that we are not as free as we think we are. We are merely puppets in their hands. All the citizens of Nigeria should keep their eyes and ears open as this injustice will happen again because the government is aware that we will not do anything against it.
THE ABILITY OF CITIZENS TO GRADUALLY GROW COMFORTABLE WITH POVERTY AND CORRUPTION
All my life, I always wondered what will be the Nigerian people’s breaking point? What point do we get to before we ‘spark’? Is it until they kill the future of our children or until they sell our identity to a foreign land?
The government comes up with ludicrous excuses to justify their inefficiency but still, we the citizens keep shut because of this fear that appears to have no bounds. Is it the fact that a governor appointed his ‘sister’ as Commissioner for Happiness? Or the fact that animals have presumably stolen the money of the people? Or that amounts of money recovered from corrupt politicians never find their way back to the people? Or when the Vice-Presidential Quarters allocated seventeen million naira to cutlery in the proposed 2018 budget?
More than half of the Nigerian population only speak up in their living rooms, cursing the government for their problems but till they die, they never do anything about it and the country continues to decay from inside out. But what do you expect from the same people who collect bribe instead of seeking justice and the same people whose sons and daughters’ results are sold out or switched, but they can’t go to the JAMB office to fight for them?
This country is bed-riddled from the root. Each family’s mentality is gradually becoming everyone’s mentality. Amidst all these, about a hundred and twelve million Nigerians still live below the poverty line. Nigerians are now comfortable with suffering, pain and disappointment, so we just live with it than fight against it.
But ask yourself. When will you actually ‘spark’? When will we reach our breaking point?
THE NARROW-MINDEDNESS OF NIGERIAN CITIZENS
In Nigeria, it is quite difficult to voice out your opinion because even when the government is taking harmful actions against the people, there will be some citizens who are too blind to see that. Inversely, when the government is doing something good for the people, there are also some citizens who will be against it.
For example, in this period, the government opens up the marketplace and the people protest about the ban on reopening churches and mosques. This country is divided but there are some things that should be looked at: the children who will starve if they don’t eat, the non-religious people who are just concerned about what to eat because at the end of the day, you can pray at home, but not everyone is a farmer and has access to foodstuffs. The people should sit and reason that there is more to life than what you think about yourself. There are children dying of hunger, diseases, poverty and abuse, so when you voice out your opinion, please think about the people who are in worse situations. Be humble and sit down.
The upheaval caused by the intolerance of people in this country against one other threatens the national security of the country. Unless Nigerians choose to stop participating in and enabling corruption, violence and intolerance, the country will not move forward.
How ironic is it that in a country of over two hundred and six million people, the citizens are so scared of voicing out their displeasure and opinion to the people they elected into position. The most important question here is why exactly are we scared of the government?
– Awesu Haminat Ololade.